West Highland Way

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Classic Scottish Trail run from Milngavie station, Glasgow to Fort William. The West Highland Way Race (WHW) is a 92 mile trail run across some of the most beautiful terrain in the UK.


An annual race along the full south–north distance of the West Highland Way has been run in its current form since 1991. The race starts at 1 am on the Saturday nearest to the Summer Solstice.

Bobby Shields (Clydesdale Harriers) and Duncan Watson (Lochaber) initiated the idea of racing over Scotland's most popular long distance footpath.

On the 22nd June 1985 the two set out from Milngavie. Their route differed in many ways from the route of today: it was shorter, at 85 miles (not 95), and had 10–12 miles more on tarmac, with around 2000 ft less of climbing. After around 60 miles, as they started over Rannoch Moor, they decided to cease competing against each other and ran together. They set a time of 17 hours 48 minutes 30 seconds.

In 1986 Shields and Watson opened up an invitation to some fellow runners to race in the opposite direction, Fort William - Milngavie. 1987 saw a return to the established direction of running, South - North. Of eleven starters seven arrived in Fort William. Jim Stewart took over the organisation of the event in 1991, as the footpath was now complete, the course was changed, increasing the distance to 153 km with only 15 km on road and more climbing was introduced. With this increased difficulty runners were likely to be out longer and now a bigger percentage may be out a second night.

Dario Melaragni, who had completed the race himself three times, took over as race director in 1999. He developed the format of the race by involving local mountain rescue teams who provided emergency response during the event. He also inaugurated and developed the race website, which has become a prime source of information for runners wishing to attempt the race. The race has gained status in recent years and entries fill within a few weeks of opening. In July 2009, whilst out running with friends, Melaragni suffered a suspected heart attack and died near the summit of Lochnagar in the Cairngorms. His funeral was attended by many people wearing West Highland Way Race clothing.

122 runners finished in 2009 and 109 finished in 2010. 514 have now completed the challenge. Jim Drummond has 14 finishes. The race record holder is Jez Bragg from Solihull with a time of 15:44:50, set on 24 June 2006. The female record holder is Lucy Colquhoun of North Berwick with a time of 17:16:20, set in 2007.



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